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“I think we should raise chickens,” Thomas said.

“No,” I answered, shoveling a forkful of omelet into my mouth.

“We eat eggs every day. It could save us a lot of money,” he said.

“Do we have to feed the chickens, or do they forage for their own food?” I asked.

“Probably feed them.”

“Then we’ll lose money,” I shook my head. “How are you considered the math person in the family when I know that it’d take more to feed them than buying eggs at the store or from your friend, Mike. We’d most likely forget to feed them and end up killing them, and then we’re out chickens, eggs and money.”

“You’re a real downer today,” he said.

“No, Thomas, I’m a realist.”

It was his turn to shake his head.

“What? I am a realist!”

Thomas’s phone chirped.

“It’s Mike,” he said. “We can pick up the eggs this afternoon. Can you get them, please?”

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll ride my bike.”

“Great.”

Later that afternoon, I knocked on Mike’s front door and waited for him to bring my two dozen eggs.

But he didn’t bring me any eggs.

He brought me a chicken.

“Where are my eggs?” I asked.

“Right here,” Mike said, trying to hand me the chicken. “You’ll have fresh eggs every day.”

“Umm, no offense, but I prefer my eggs already cooked or in a cardboard container in the fridge. Still inside the chicken is not an option.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, there must be a mistake,” he said. “My understanding is you and Thomas just celebrated your 27th anniversary, and you always wanted to have chickens. Jenny is supposed to be your gift.”

“Who’s Jenny?”

“Your chicken.”

“That’s not my chicken,” I said. “Just give me the eggs and keep your chicken.”

“Thomas said I’m not allowed to let you leave without Jenny.”

“Is Thomas your boss?” I asked.

“No.”

“Well, I’m his boss, and I say no chicken.”

“Please?” Mike asked.

“How exactly am I supposed to carry a chicken?”

“In your basket,” he said.

It may come as a surprise that I’m a bit whimsical. I like using metal watering cans instead of a hose, and I have a white wicker basket on the front of my bike.

“No way,” I said. “What if Jenny poops?”

“She won’t.”

“What if she tries to fly away?”

“I have bungee cords.”

“Do you have duct tape?” I asked.

“She’s a chicken, not a mallard.”

Mike stuffed the chicken into the basket, and between the two of us, we trapped it with bungee cords. “Okay, you’re all set,” he said.

“I’m not taking Jenny on my bike if she doesn’t have a helmet,” I smiled smugly.

“Thomas said you’d say that,” Mike said, pulling a small object from his jacket.

“What is that?”

“A golf ball helmet,” he said. “If it can take a hit from a five iron, it’ll make a smashing bike helmet.”

“Great,” I said unenthusiastically.

“Hold her head,” Mike said.

“What?”

“Just keep her steady.”

Like an idiot, I grabbed Jenny’s head, and she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was not a fan.

“You know what, I think Jenny doesn’t need a helmet.”

“If you say so,” Mike said and walked into his house without even a goodbye.

Jenny and I looked at each other.

“You’re going to need to keep your wings and legs inside the basket at all times. At no point will you try to escape the basket. If you do not adhere to these two rules, I’ll marinate you with honey garlic sauce and throw you on the barbie. Do I make myself clear?”

And do you know what Jenny did? She gave me the bird. I am not kidding.

The ride was going pretty well, and then we turned a corner and came face-to-face with a little girl and her dog.

Jenny and the dog stared at each other.

“You have a chicken in your basket,” Little Miss Obvious said.

“Yeah, I like to keep all my eggs in one basket.”

“You’re weird.”

“You have no idea,” I said, riding away.

Jenny and I continued our trek through the neighborhood, then I heard a bleep-bleep behind me.

I pulled to the side of the road.

“Good afternoon, ma’am,” the officer said.

“Good afternoon.”

“We’ve received several calls about a chicken in a basket.”

I pointed at Jenny, “I was hungry, but the drive-thru was taking too long, because, you know, they had to go kill the chicken, so I just got myself a live one.”

“I understand,” he laughed. “Will you be crossing the road?”

“Yessir,” I said, thrilled that I had an officer with a sense of humor. “I have to get to the other side.”

“Be safe and no playing chicken with the cars,” he smiled.

“I probably wouldn’t win,” I laughed. “It’d be fowl play.”

The officer shook his head.

“Hey, my husband does that same move.”

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in C-U and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.